El, Candelabro, Paracas Candelabra, or, the Candelabra of the Andes is one of the most well-known prehistoric geoglyphs found in South America. It’s 595 feet tall and two feet deep, large enough that boats twelve miles out at sea can see the figure. Archaeologists have dated it using radio-carbon dating to around 200 BC, at the time of the Paracas culture.
The Paracas culture was an Andean society that existed between 800 and 100 BC, and were known for their distinctive ceramics and textiles, as well as for taking the heads off of their dead for ceremonial burials.
A lot of myths have been created surrounding the Candelabra geoglyph. Some think it’s related to Masonic symbols. Others think it’s a depiction of the Mesoamerican world tree, a symbol of the four cardinal directions, and a connection of the planes of the Underworld and the sky with the earth. Most likely, though, it’s a representation of the trident, a tool used by the god Viracocha, a very popular deity in South America, usually known as the pre-Inca creator god.
Tourists generally need to be on tour with a verified guide to visit the geoglyph.
This past weekend, the National Service of State Protected Areas (Sernanp) reported that a group of tourists rode motor vehicles into the national reserve in Paracas. The service shared a post on their Facebook page, saying that these motorists had no respect for Peru’s national heritage and that they were “irresponsible tourists”.Paraca’s Park Rangers and the Tourism Police quickly responded to intervene, and they caught a group of tourists riding around in their cars and motorcycles near El Candelabro.
Sernanp reported that the tourists had managed to drive two trucks, an ATV, and a car into the protected area, of course creating damage all over the nearby plain of the Caracas Peninsula.
The minute the police rode onto the scene, the owners abandoned their cars and ran away. Just minutes later, when they reached the entrance to the Caracas Reserve, the park authorities apprehended them and took them to the police station in Paracas for processing.
The park rangers will be working on repairing the damage done to the site, and the Peruvian authorities are currently deciding what needs to be done about the vandals.